India captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are two of the best in the business for India. But former wicketkeeper-batsman Saba Karim stated that they both have the tendency to start slow and take time before accelerating the innings and because of that India get in a difficult situation when they are batting together in the middle.
Speaking on the Khelneeti podcast on YouTube, Saba Karim said: “One big problem for India is both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are very similar players. They are orthodox players. They try in the middle to accelerate by hitting boundaries or sixes. The problem arises when both get to the crease at the same time, because then the strike rate naturally comes down.”
Further elaborating on his point, he revealed: “They don’t play risk-free cricket. This is not to say they are not good players, but in T20s you need players who play risk-free cricket. Especially when India lose early wickets, they then both try to consolidate. Then they end up consuming a lot of deliveries without improving the strike rate. It’s a very difficult situation for India. Only when these players transform their style of play will it benefit India.”
However, Saba Karim also shared that India’s approach of rotating the strike hardly works as opponent teams always have quality bowlers who restrict them from taking six runs in an over.
“No matter what the format, if you only focus on strike rotation and taking singles of all six balls then it won’t do good. It may work for one or two overs, but if you just want to rotate strike of five overs, it’s not possible because there are quality bowlers you are facing up against. If your mentality is just to take singles and rotate strikes, you can’t even get six runs off an over. The maximum you will manage is 4-5 runs in an over, which will see you fall short. So you need to punctuate singles with boundaries or sixes,” he further added.
Saba Karim also opened up on the struggling Indian batting unit who came into the mega event directly from the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. Notably, India won the warm-up matches which gave them confidence but they lost against Pakistan and New Zealand before winning against Afghanistan.
“There was a big challenge for India coming into the World Cup. If we look at the number of in-form players (batters) who make the playing XI, there are only few – KL Rahul and may be Rishabh Pant. We started to think that because we won the warm-up matches easily, and players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli made runs, our team is solid and our batters are in form. So I think we didn’t consider that in the World Cup, you will be up against top quality bowlers,” Saba Karim concluded.